Saturday, August 30, 2008

Pass the Gas

VALLEY CITY, North Dakota (AP) -- Carol Umsted got more than the word of God during services this summer at the Congregational United Church of Christ of Valley City.

She also got $50 worth of free gas, thanks to winning a raffle. For the local farmer, it was a nice side benefit, at a time when gas was more than $4 a gallon.

Churches nationwide are making similar offers, ranging from gas card raffles to 99-cent gas sales at local stations, to boost attendance during the vacation season and attract new members.

But some Christians question whether a financial incentive should be used to draw people into church.

Now normally I would be all over this, giving these churches a hard time. But we are talking Free Gas. Have you seen how much gas costs? Of course you have. Plus I don't have time, we are in CT for the weekend visiting Josh.

Heck I'd become a Moonie or a Hare Krishna for the day for a free tank of gas.

Before you judge me; do you realize I have 4 vehicles that require fueling.

2002 Chevy Prizm 30 mpg
1992 Pont Sunbird 25 mpg
1998 Chevy Suburban 15 mpg
2002 Doge 15-passenger van 12 mpg

Gasoline it now our third highest monthly expense, after the mortgage and the grocery bill.

So be kind to me.

Friday, August 29, 2008

Stuff Catholics Like


That's Scapulars not Spatulas, not Dracula, it's Scapular.

The Brown Scapular of Our Lady of Mount Carmel

The Black and Silver Spatula of Rob's Kitchen

The small scapulars consist essentially of two quadrilateral segments of woolen cloth (about two and three-quarter inches long by two inches wide), connected with each other by two strings or bands in such a manner that, when the bands rest on the shoulders, the front segment rests before the breast, while the other hangs down an equal distance at the back. The two segments of cloth need not necessarily be equally large, various scapulars having the segment before the breast of the above dimensions while the segment at the back is much smaller. The material of these two essential parts of the scapular must be of woven wool; the strings or bands may be of any material, and of any one colour. The colour of the segments of woollen cloth depends on the colour of the monastic habit, which it to a certain extent represents, or on the mystery in honour of which it is worn. Here, however, it must be remarked that the so called Brown Scapular of the Carmelites may be black, and that the bands of the Red Scapular of the Passion must be of red wool. On either or both of the woollen segments may be sewn or embroidered becoming representations or other decorations (emblems, names etc.) of a different material. It is only in the case of the Red Scapular that the images are expressly prescribed.

Wearing of the scapular shows that you are a seriously hardcore Catholic. It doesn't get much more old-school than scapulars, well except for hair-shirts and chastity belts maybe.

Guidelines for receiving the indulgences attached to the scapular: One must be enrolled in the Scapular by a Priest. New scapulars do not have to be blessed. They should be worn at all times and only removed for short times.

A scapular is not a 'get out of jail free card'. You need to be of the right spiritual disposition to receive the benefits that go along with it.

With permission you can substitute a four-way cross, that's what I did. You just have to ask a priest. You still receive the same spiritual promises that accompanying the scapular. I find the cross and chain more practical with my running, biking and swimming. The cloth scapulars get pretty funky after awhile with all my sweating - doesn't seem very respectable.
Sterling Silver 4-way Cross

So if you see someone wearing one, don't mess them cause they've got connections in high places.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

US Open 2008

While I'm not doing daily posts on this tournament like I did with Wimbledon, I don't have time in my life right now to, I figure I'd post major highlights.

Today: "Ana Ivanovic struggled from start to finish in her second-round match Thursday against 188th-ranked qualifier Julie Coin of France, losing 6-3, 4-6, 6-3 — her second straight disappointing exit at a Grand Slam". from Fox Sports.

Well the cuteness factor certainly went down on the women's side of the draw.

Heading North

Leaving in the early AM tomorrow. Heading up to CT to see Josh for the weekend before he enters seminary.

Be back in 3 days (Sunday evening) - auto-posts scheduled so The Donk doesn't miss me.

MM - aka Tennis Genius. We'll take that prayer request with us to seminary.

Today's Workouts

14 mile run. Pretty much a disaster. The run was supposed to be 24 miles but my right quad starting seizing up around mile 10 so I called it quits at 14.

Will test out the leg in the morning.

A Non-Catholics Guide to Mass

Written by popular demand – ok one person asked for it but that’s better than nothing.

Ok here’s what you need to know to get through a Mass without standing-out like a vegetarian at a cannibal convention.

First a warning (not to beat a dead donk…but). If you enter the church and find out it’s the priest day off, go ahead and sit down but be prepared to bolt if need be. The Deacon will probably be doing the Baptism or Wedding or Communion Service (similar to a Mass – but very lame). If the Deacon is not there and you see a woman in the 60 year-old or better age-range, wearing a pants-suit or a semi-clergy looking! Don’t’ even hesitate and pretend like you are heading to the bathroom, just get up and run from the church, screaming is allowed. This person is either a radical ‘nun’ leftover from the 60’s and 70’s or a ‘priest wannabe’ lay person (regular person not clergy) or both. There are a whole gaggle of older women who hang around certain churches just waiting for the priest to ask them to help out or for the priest to go on vacation so they can get their hands on the keys to the church. For some reason they haven’t figured out that after 2000 years the Catholic Church is not going to change its mind and allow female clergy. Why these women don’t leave and join a church that does allow it is a great mystery to me.

Ok here’s how to get a handle on this Catholic Mass think. I know it can be confusing and us cradle-Catholics tend to forget that not everyone knows what to do at Mass.

Heck I don’t know when to sit, stand or kneel half the time. There is a Catholic parody of The Clash’s “Should I Stay of Should I go” called “Should I Stand of Should I Kneel”. It’s funny cause it hits the truth. When I accidently stand at the wrong time I just grab the seat of my pants and act like I’ve got a wedgie that needs fixing and then sit back down like nothing happened. This wouldn’t be so embarrassing if my Honey didn’t make us sit up front.

The best way to know what to do is to sit towards the back and follow the crowd like a lemming. Of course that means getting there early so you can get a seat in the back…the way Catholics avoid the front of the church, you would think all priests had B.O. or bad breath.

The kneeling parts of Mass are the most solemn and important parts. Some visitors aren’t comfortable with the kneeling. It’s ok to sit during these parts just try and be as quiet as possible. This would be the worst possible time to have to go to the potty or be sick…just ask my Robert aka ‘Puke in Church Boy’.

You can follow along with a lot of the Mass in a booklet called a Missal that should be in the pews. You aren’t excepted to do the parts that require the congregation to respond. But you can if you won’t.

The choir leader will announce the number to each hymn to be sung. Sing if you wish, you might be the only one.

The ‘sign of the peace’ is about the only time you might have to actively participate. The priest will say “let us offer each other a sign of peace”. People will turn to each other; shake hands and say something like “peace be with you” or “peace of Christ”. It’s some touchy-feely commie-pinko thing that was added to the Mass in the late 60’s/early 70’s. It’s annoying but pretty painless. Plus it makes Rachel happy since it’s the only time her 18-old will let her kiss him. If you want you can just fold your arms across your chest and scowl at people, it works for me. The worst is the priest who has to come of the altar and shake everyone’s hand within reach…you’d think they were running for public office.

Kids are welcome at Mass. If they get to loud just take them to the cry-room if there is one or to the back of the church. Some Masses will have a nursery or Sunday school if you want to use those.

If communion is offered just stay in your seat and let others pass by. Don’t get in line and go up. Some churches encourage people not receiving communion to come up anyway with their arms folded across their chests to receive a blessing. While this is fine for little kids, adults look like real dorks doing this. Especially when it’s a lay person not a priest giving out communion.

Don’t call the priest: Mr. or Reverend. If you aren’t comfortable calling him Father than just say hi.

Now if you happen to wander into a charismatic church and want to fit in, here is a primer on how to speak in tongues. Just repeat these two phrases over and over in a fast cadence: “Shot of vodka” and “She came in a Honda” while holding your arms up like you are signaling a touchdown.

Be careful when you leave the parking lot. It can be like a demolition derby out there. What with people rushing to get out as fast as they can to go watch football or go shopping or hit Mickey D’s for another nutritious breakfast.

What I can’t tell you about:

1) The secret handshake
2) The paddle-line initiation to join
3) What days we bring out the rattle-snakes
4) What our church colors are
5) The secret catacombs beneath each church
6) The magic underwear
7) How to get out of Purgatory (actually if you figure that one out let me know)

And if you try to find out any of these things I’ll rap your knuckles with a ruler.

Other than that y'all are welcome to come to Mass anytime you want.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Good Thing You Look Great in Stripes Honey

Cause you could end up in jail too. I told you checking out 100 romance novels at a time from the library would get you in trouble. Is getting a glimpse of Fabio's chest-hair on the covers really worth getting locked up?

GRAFTON, Wis. - A Grafton woman has been arrested and booked for failing to pay her library fines. Heidi Dalibor, 20, told the News Graphic in Cedarburg she ignored the library's calls and letters as well as a notice to appear in court.

The incident cost Dalibor about $30 for the overdue paperbacks "White Oleander" and "Angels and Demons" and her mother nearly $172 to get her out of custody.

With all the books, cd's and videos that you and the kids check out each week, it's only a matter of time before some of them slip through the cracks, don't get returned, and you get locked-up.

I'm not saying the kids want to get rid of you, but I did see Cecilia flushing books down the toilet the other day.

Of course you would probably welcome a stay in prison. 3 meals a day, no laundry,no teaching, no puking kids, lots of time to sleep...

Wait just a dog-gone minute, this might explain why you wanted to use my library card the other day. You are trying to set me up. I can see it all so clearly now. You were going to check out Oprah's Book of the Month, not return it and ignore all the late notices until they came and locked me up, weren't you? Good thing my library card was expired. Ha, thought you had me didn't you? I'm not as dumb as I look. Ha!

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Today's Workouts

A very nice 10 mile run in fall-like weather. Legs feeling pretty good after the hard week last week.

Houston We Have a Problem

Here's a shot of my running shoes from the last few years - minus the ones I've given to my teen boys to fool around in.

Ok so maybe I need to go to SA (shoes anonymous). Are there 12 Step programs for Running Shoe addicts?

1. We admitted we were powerless over running shoes - that our closets had become unmanageable.

2. Came to believe that a Power greater than our shoes could restore us to sanity.

3. Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of a Foot Locker employee as we understood Him.

4. Made a searching and fearless moral and physical inventory of our closets.

5. Admitted to God, to ourselves, the UPS driver and our podiatrist the exact nature of our wrongs.

6. Were entirely ready to have God remove all the old shoes from our lives.

7. Humbly asked Him to remove our shortcomings and ugly colored shoes.

8. Made a list of all credit cards and checking accounts we had overdrawn, and became willing to make amends to the banks.

9. Made direct amends to such accounts wherever possible, except when to do so would land us in jail.

10. Continued to take physical inventory and when we were wrong promptly admitted it and donated excess shoes to the Kenyans.

11. Sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with a higher power, praying only for knowledge of the perfect running shoe at the best possible price.

12. Having had a spiritual awakening as the result of these steps, we tried to carry this message to runners at races every where and to practice these principles in all our affairs.

Only 12 steps...that won't even take me to the end of my driveway

Monday, August 25, 2008

Today's Workouts

5.1 lunch-time run with Sir Donk-a-Lot. Legs not quite as trashed as I thought they would be after last week.

It's Quieter Here

Even though she was usually at school, or work, or out with friends or up in her room...the house seems quieter and emptier without her here.

We moved Alex (18) into her dorm room Saturday, classes start Wednesday. She's a junior, has 2 years of community college under her belt. Majoring in Social Work and minoring in Psych - she should be well qualified after living in this house.

No turning back now. Seems like it was just yesterday that she was born and made me a father for the first time. What happened to the little girl who used to ride on my shoulders? When did she become a wonderful young lady? Did her momma and I do a good enough job? Is she ready to face all that's out there? Will I ever stop worry about her? Why didn't I know it would be this hard?

Un-Loading the Suburban

Brother Caleb helping out - those are clothes in that blue sheet, not a body.

The pile to go up to the room is shrinking

Rearranging the furniture

At least they have plenty of closet space

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Today's Workouts

Today's workout was a 10 mile race. The Annapolis 10-Miler.

Decent weather for August. Warm and a little muggy but not as bad as it could be.

I ran about 6 minutes slower than last year's race (1:21:xx vs 1:15:xx) but I was kind of expecting that since I had a long hard week of training and didn't rest up for this race at all. So I'm ok with the results.

The Donk ran with me and was kind enough not to leave me in the dust, which he easily could have.

70 miles total running for the week.

The best part is, when I picked up my race packet yesterday, they had a large display of running shoes on sale. Got me another pair of my beloved Asics DS Trainer 13's

Silly Sunday


You take the blonde

Abby Someone

Suit yourself, I'm easy

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Today's Workouts

34 mile bike ride in the morning.

4 mile in the evening. Took both workouts easy to try and rest the legs a little bit for tomorrow's race (the Annapolis 10-miler)

Time to Get a New Hobbie People?

The Italian Association for Defense of Animals and the Environment, which has a white bunny logo, has started an online petition signed by nearly 1,900 people asking Pope Benedict to stop wearing ermine on his hats and robes.

Come on the ermine looks like a white weasel. If I want to see a weasel I'll just go visit The Donk. Aren't there some baby seals or whales that need saving instead?

Leave his Holiness alone dudes. He's got a whole lot of other things to worry about, like whether or not the Sign of Peace is a pinko-commie plot (it is). Plus I think the lid looks pretty cool on him.

Petitioners gave their reasons for signing on the Web site.

“The pope has a cat he loves a lot, so why doesn't he use it for one of his capes?” wrote one of the petitioners, who signed as Sergio Porcelli from Ercolano, near Naples.

Not a bad idea. "I thought I saw a puddy cat"

Friday, August 22, 2008

Today's Workouts

11 mile run at lunch on top of yesterdays long run = sore legs.
Weather was awesome.

Stuff Catholics Like

Communion Services - NOT

Ok for you non-Catholics, Communion Services (CS) are Mass wannabes or Mass Lite. They are the Vanilla Ice and Milli Vanilli's of the church world.

They are used in place of Mass, normally on weekdays but sometimes on Sunday's, when a priest isn't available to say Mass. They follow the same basic pattern as the Mass but omit the consecration of the bread and wine (the most important part). Communion is distributed using Hosts that have been previously consecrated by a priest.

Usually, but not always, a Deacon will perform them. Sometimes it's a nun or, God help us, a lay person (regular dude or dudette). The lay people that do them are almost always some grey-haired priest-wannabe lady who can't wait to get up there on the altar and play church. One of the worse parts is the almost forcing of people to hold hands during the Our Father. Touch my hand hippy dude and it's go time. A half hour of this is way more painful than running a marathon, trust me.

I can't go to them any longer. My net grace for the day ends up in the negative. The ton of grace I get for receiving communion is wiped-out (and then some) by me wanting to stuff the person performing the CS into the baptismal font or using them to reenact the stoning of St Stephen (not that kind of stoning Donk).

The painfulness of these things are fresh in my mind. Sam and I went to one last Monday at the beach. At our home church daily mass lasts 25-30 minutes tops. This CS lasted 37 minutes! Yes I timed it. The guy doing it, deacon maybe but I'm not sure, gave a 10 minute homily!!! My priests at home don't preach that long at Sunday Mass. Yo Chatty Cathy, it's 9am at the beach on a sunny day, shut the yapper and get on with it. I've got my skin cancer to work on.

Sam is much more patient than I am, duh. She goes to them a fair amount of the time and somehow tolerates them - I guess living with me for almost 20 years has given her infinite patience. The benefits of receiving holy communion out weigh all the negatives of the junk that goes with a CS for Sam.

Yes I know that in some cases they are better than nothing (barely). And that in some area's of the country that's all people can get on Sunday. But our area has plenty of priests and there is really no excuse for having then on a regular basis. Besides I hate them almost as much as I hate that pinko-commie Sign of Peace.

Ok, I feel better now. Deep breaths Rob...

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Today's Workouts

24 miles running this morning before work. Longest run, that wasn't part of race, ever.

Tired legs but otherwise feeling pretty good.

If it's the 20th of the Month

It must be date day. Ok so it's the 21st, but yesterday was Lizzie's b-day so Sam and I went out today. Lunch at the little Italian Grille we have been going to pretty much every month. We are working our way through the menu.

I had an Arugula Salad and a small white pizza that had mozzarella, Prosciutto ham and fresh basil. Parmesan cheese and tomato on top.
Sam had cream of crab soup and a Chicken/Shrimp Salad.

Beam Me Up Scotty

Hologram Pastors?!
An estimated 2,000 to 2,500 U.S. congregations now operate multiple campuses, and many of them, like Buckhead Church, are so-called video venues. The Leadership Network, a Christian nonprofit that follows these multisite churches, says there will be 30,000 of them within a few years. Already, the most ambitious pastors are predicting that, thanks to video, they'll have branded outlets nationwide and more than 100,000 followers—twice as large as the country's biggest megachurch today. Gigachurches are the way that next-generation celebrity evangelists are building their empires.

What's next? Virtual confessions? Techno music for hymns? Hummus and a Soy Latte in place of communion?

If these 'pastors' had a bunch of these Video Churches, they will be bi-locating better than Padre Pio.

McChurches like this make are making it too easy for me to be snarky.

Why even bother going to one of these places of (do I dare say worship?) whatever they are. Why not just stay home and watch the 'televangelist of the month' on TV. How is this any different than sitting at home in front of the tube? Heck you don't have to get dressed up and you don't have to use any gas to get there. Just sit around the plasma TV in your boxer shorts with a cup of coffee. These Godzilla-Churches must hate trees - encouraging people to use their cars on Sunday mornings. What would Al Gore think? Does Al Gore think?

Let's more churches = more members = more donations = more private jets, mansions and fancy cars. Or am I just being too cynical...nah not me, couldn't be that...

If you are going to franchise churches you might as well put a Starbucks in it too. Wait, too late.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Happy Birthday Elizabeth

Today is Elizabeth's (Lizzie or Lizard-Breath if you prefer) 14th birthday. I remember well when she was born. She was our 4th child in 4 years - yikes!

She was Sam's first summer pregnancy. Sam looked so beautiful that summer. Tan and healthy. (not that she's a dog the rest of the time)

Lizzie is our sweet and nice girl. She's the one who will help you out when you ask. She's the one you want to babysit your kids. When you get home the house will be clean and the kids in bed.

Although I often worry that she is a closet Mean Girl. Is she going to get my axe out of the shed one night and go all Lizzie Borden on us?

We love you sweet girl. Happy Birthday!

Btw - Lizzie is the white chick in the pic

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

It's a Major Award

Yes yours truly has been nominated for a Brilliante Award. If you haven't heard of this award before, where the heck you been living? In a cave with Bin Laden? On a golf course with OJ helping him catch the 'real' killers? Ok, so I'd never heard of it until last what, that doesn't mean it doesn't rank right up there as one of the highlights of my life. It comes right after being named Miss Succotash Queen at the country fair in '79.

I'd Like to Thank All the Little People That Made This Possible

Oh wait there's just me. I deserve all the credit for it. Just me me me. It's not bragging if it's true. I just hope I keep my sweet and humble nature and don't let this award go to my head. I sure hope I can handle the paparazzi, tabloid headlines and inevitable rehab stints.

Thanks Jacque for the nomination. I'm just glad to know you have such great taste - even if you do have a Baby Elmo song on your Blog's music player ;).

The rules for this award are:
- the winner can put the logo on his/her blog
- link to the person you received your award from
- nominate at least 7 other blogs
- put links to those blogs on yours
- leave a message on the blogs of the people you nominate

So I nominate the following:

1. Prettiest Wife in the World because if I don't I might get a shoe thrown at me
2. The Mom because of a shared love for running shoes
3. Mom to a whole lot of Minnie's because I'm way jealous of her girls swimming abilities
4. Between Clever and Stupid because she might just be as nuts as I am
5. Half a Dozen Productions Because she has pretty hair like my wife's
6. Carlson Caravan nominated in spite of the fact that her posts about yummy sandwiches make me hungry
7. The Five of Us because she's the only person I know in France and because she takes like 2 month vacations - I mean holidays

Today's Workouts

4.3 mile run yesterday. 11 miles this morning. Almost 100% recovered from the sickies.

Thoughts on Large Families and Responsible Parenting etc - Follow up

I guess I shouldn’t post a ‘hot’ topic and then go to the beach with the family for a week. I’m glad I didn’t post on something really controversial like; who’s more popular – Miley Cyrus or Michael Phelps? Or who’s more whacked -McCain of Obama?

People have strong (and somewhat hateful) feelings on this topic. I just assumed all Catholics felt the same way as we did, silly me. Catholics can't even agree on little things like; what size the hosts should be or whether or not the Sign of Peace is a pinkie-commie plot (it is). Why should they agree on the big things.

Here’s a good post on the same topic

Regarding the comments I received:

Messy Bessy – thanks for the nice words. I too used to be (still am at times) a Judgmental Catholic too.

TCM – thanks…I just got back from vacation myself…but I think my wife and I need a second one without the kids to recover.

RC – once I figure out all the big words you used I’ll get back to ya ;). Btw – my post was mainly in response to all the people being snotty on Danielle’s Coffee Talk. Please stop by again and remember my unofficial blog motto: “we kid cause we care”.

Annelisa – 3 boys under 4?! God Bless You! That’s great. You will have great time with them…providing you survive ;). My wife and I took 1 NFP class when we engaged and decided the heck with it. We would just trust God to plan our family size…figured he knew better than us what we could handle. Anyway it’s not really any one’s business whether someone uses NFP or doesn’t.

Liz – thanks! It really is awful when ‘Catholics” give someone a hard time (especially children) when there is another pregnancy in the family. Our kids (even the teens) are always very excited when we announce another little one is on the way.
Sorry about the young lady friend stepping away from the Church. I’ll try and remember to pray for her.

Mary – Relax. I said I haven’t voted in a ‘National’ election since ’92. I vote in local elections. I might vote in a national election if I was actually presented with a 100% prolife candidate instead of one who was less pro-abortion than another. I really got tired of the old ‘vote for the lesser of two evils’ thing.
Btw – Padre Pio probably didn’t have the tools we have as choices. Plus I’m pretty sure the good Father was never pope and wasn’t speaking ex cathedra when he went off on voting ;)
The ‘take the Christians for granted’ Republicans haven’t exactly been the unborn's best friends.

Simcha – no problem. Keep the faith.

Rachel – nice comments. “I have come to believe that God truly does open and close the womb and that He truly knows what a person can handle” Bingo! Give that woman a free year’s supply of panty hose.

Monday, August 18, 2008

The Good, the Bad and the Ugly

Last week was family vacation in Kitty Hawk, NC - part of the Outer Banks(OBX). My mother and SIL came with us so there were 14 people in the 4 bedroom beach house we rented (Josh is in NH).

The drive down went well. We decided to leave at 5am - a compromise between myself and the bride. I voted for 6 and she wanted 4am. I only get up at 4 to run...not to drive.

My sister, her husband and their 4 kids rented the house next to ours. Friends of theirs stayed with them and they also have 4 kids and they brought along a cousin. So it was 27 people total between the 2 houses.

Shockingly no one killed anyone and there were very few arguments. So I don't have any funny Vacation stories.

In general the week was great. We didn't do a whole lot of activities or sightseeing. We basically were on the beach from around 10am until dinner every night. The kids played great together on the beach. The big kids watched out for the little kids in the water so dad actually got to read on the beach.

Evenings were spent climbing the sand dunes, in the hot tub, watching the Olympics or playing games.

The biggest problem was that 6 of our kids got the stomach virus thing (again - we just went through this 6 weeks ago - is there a patron saint of hurling?). They got it one by one through out the week, with the 6th to get throwing-up 5 minutes into the ride home.

To make matters worse, the night before we left one of my sister's friend's kids got the stomach virus from word on whether or not any of the others have gotten it since they got home.

Also my sister's oldest was sick the whole and spent a lot of hours at the local health clinic. Turns out she had pneumonia. They left Thursday evening since she felt so lousy.

One night we bought 2 bushels of hard crabs and grilled some dogs and steaks and had a great meal for all 27 of us. Another night we ordered pizza. Other than that we cooked at the house.

A side note - when did it become common practice for all body types/sizes to wear two-piece bathing suits? On certain bodies a one-piece is much more flattering. As my 94 year-old grandmother says "do people even look in the mirror before they go out?"

A vacation summary.

The Good

Time with the Family
Daily Mass
Good Weather
The Water and Beach
Coming home with about half the cash I took

The Bad

The Drive Home

The Ugly

6 of my kids throwing-up during the week.
1 of my sister's kid getting pneumonia
1 of her friends kids getting the stomach bug from us
very plus size women wearing bikinis

Here are a few of the 500 pictures we took

Barbara and Friend

13 of us

Dad, Mom and Hunter

Playing at the Sand Dunes

Alex and Mary at the Dunes

All the Kids but one

Cecilia Hunting for Treasures

Down Time at Night

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Their Shoes Needed Cleaning Anyway

We had an assortment of sick kids while on vacation (see tomorrow's post for details).

So I'm sitting next to Robert (8) at 10am Mass this morning. During the consecration he turns to me and says "dad my stomach feels sick". Normally I would tell him to chill at least until the consecration was over. Especially since we sit in the second pew right in the middle of the church. But I had him get up and sent him to the bathroom in the basement...he almost made it...

I tried to follow his progression towards the back of the church but lost sight of him. A few minutes later I see a few friends walking towards Sam who was at the other end of the pew. She gets up and meets then half-way.

Friends "Robert got sick"

Sam "Did he make it to the bathroom?"

Friends "Almost"

He tossed his cookies right before the door to the basement and behind the last pew. All over the floor and half a dozen people's shoes that were sticking out of the back of the pew because they were still kneeling.

Really it's their own fault for being typical Catholics and sitting in the back of church. There were plenty of seats near the front. If you are gonna sit in the back of church so you can be the first out of the parking lot...getting barfed on is a small price to pay.

After Mass a teen friend came up to Robert and told him "If puking was an Olympic sport, you would have won Gold".

Today's Workouts

5.3 mile run.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Friday, August 15, 2008

Day 7 at the Beach - Friday's Auto-Post

Happy 1st Birthday Eric!

Our baby is 1 today. He's been the sweetest tempered baby we've had yet. Apparently it took 11 kids to figure out what we were doing. Good thing we didn't stop at 10.

Of course this means the baby is 1 and Sam is not pregnant, which means she's going to be threatening to have me checked-out or she's gonna trade me in. There is no pleasing some people. ;)

Stuff Catholics Like - Day 7 at the Beach - Friday's Auto-Post

Daily Mass -

Since we are at the beach this week and have been going to 9am daily Mass as a family, I figured this would be a good topic for this weeks installment.

Catholics love daily Mass, that doesn't necessarily mean they actually go to it regularly. But they love to talk about going to it. It's kinda like a badge of honor to go to Daily Mass - like being a Super Catholic of something. It must have something to do with that daily infusion of Eucharistic Grace.

The blue-hairs and geezers go to daily Mass in droves at our church. I mean what else do they have to do all day. We kid cause we care. Actually they are a great example to the younger generations of how to live out their faith.

Lent is also a busy time at daily Mass. At our church, the pews of the chapel are packed during Lent.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Day 6 at the Beach - Thursday's Auto-Post

Hello again from lovely Kitty Hawk, NC. I hope all of you are doing well and having a great week. Who am I kidding, I'm at the beach, I don't care how any of y'all are. No offense intended. But I am very self centered this week.

Speaking of me, I was really upset that I had to drop-out of the bidding on Elvis' Peacock Jumpsuit.
I would have look so good in it, really I would have. Once the bidding got over a Buck 3.80, I called it quits.

"Lemonade that cool refreshing drink"

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Day 5 at the Beach - Wednesday's Auto-Post

Ok I may be getting too much sun. I knew that baby oil mixed with iodine would cost me one day.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Day 4 at the Beach - Tuesday's Auto-Post

I hope you are praying for us at the beach and in particular that you are praying for good weather. Cause if it's raining down here the whole week, I'm going to go all Jack Nicholson in The Shinning on the family.

I mean a man can only play Candy Lane and Go Fish and watch Leave to Beaver reruns so many times.

So stayed tuned to CNN to see if there are any 'domestic' spats at the OBX this week.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Today's Workouts

Just got back from a 5 mile un with my bil. Heading to 9am Mass now with DW, then to the beach.


Day 3 at the Beach - Monday's Auto-Post

Don't hate me cause I'm lounging on the beach getting a savage tan.

I've uploaded a picture of me from today.

I know, I know...I need to work on the tanlines. But this is a family beach.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Today's Workouts

6am - 4 mile run.

7am - Shopping for supplies at the local Food Lion with Dominic.

9am - Mass.

10:30 - To the local donut shop where they make them fresh for you.

11am - beach

2pm - T-storm just us back to the beach house

2:30 - Women folk went to Goodwill to shop for other people's junk ;)

KayleighJeanne - just a short post while it's raining. Lots of sand between my toes

Silly Sunday - Day 2 at the Beach - Sunday's Auto-Post

I love Lucy (well actually I Love Sam...but you get the idea)

Saturday, August 9, 2008

Today's Workouts

Hello from Kitty Hawk, NC. 4 mile run before dinner. Ran along the beach road.

We made it safe and sound, an uneventful trip - 5 hours - quicker than expected.

We compromised and decided to leave at 5am - actual departure time was 5:28.

Oh and I'm able to connect to the wireless Internet that's running in the house next door to us. My sister is staying there.

Day 1 at the Beach - Saturday's Auto-Post

Depending on the time of day you are reading this, we are hanging out on the beach working on our skin cancer or (God-forbid) still in the Family Truckster 'enjoying' the 5 hour ride down to North Carolina's Outer Banks. Which means I've probably threatened them a 100 times with 'turning this van around' or 'pulling it over' or 'I told you to go before we left'.

Not sure what time we left this morning since I typed this a few days ago and at that time departure time was still being 'discussed' between myself and DW. Her vote was for 4am - mine for 6am. We are both up early but I will be the one doing all the driving and she will be doing all the sleeping on the way their. We both want to beat traffic but we can't check-in to the house until 3-6pm. So I figure if we get there by noon and hang on the beach for awhile that will be good. Sam would like to get there around 10am. Either way by the time we are allowed in the beach house the kids will be sweaty, smelly, sandy, cranky messes......pretty much the norm actually.

We will be at the beach for one glorious week or it may feel like a week in one of the outer rings of hell. It's hard to tell with vacations...they can go either way.

There will me 14 of us (me, 1 wife, 10 kids (Josh is in NH), 1 mother and 1 SIL) staying in a 4 BR beach house. The good news is we are right across the street from the beach. Like 25 yards away.

My sister and BIL and friends of theirs are staying in a house right next door. Each couple has 4 kids, so we will have 18 kids between the 2 houses.

Like I said; it could be fantastic or it could be like pulling your fingernails off with a pair of pliers.

Friday, August 8, 2008

Thoughts on Large Families and Responsible Parenting and Generous Parenthood

With all the brouhaha over on Mrs. Bean’s site (and other places) regarding whether or not couples are being irresponsible or not by having more kids while on some form of government aid (or to very loosely paraphrase some of the more harda$$ commentators “I don’t want my hard earned tax dollars going to pay for your brats to have milk to drink because y’all keep breeding like rats”.

Against my better judgment I’ve decided to open my big pie-hole on the issue.

A little background. While people would probably call my Catholicism ‘conservative’ or ‘traditional’ (just plain Catholic is fine with me), politically I’m a Libertarian. I have yet to meet a government program that I like and I would have actually voted in a national election for the first time since ’92 if Ron Paul had been nominated. So if anyone should be opposed to Catholics getting ‘handouts’ for their large families, it’s me.

I would love to see all of the welfare programs done away with and the stolen tax dollars given back to their rightful owners. I think that going back to when churches and other private charities were the main helpers of the poor would not only be a wonderful thing but would work a lot better than the incredibly wasteful programs that the Feds run. People generally seem to want to help others, if they were allowed to keep the money that they actually earn, tithes and gifts to charities would skyrocket. But in the meantime, and until we elect good people, this is the system we are stuck with.

I think we can all agree that parents need to do their best to provide for their kids themselves. But what if they can’t for one reason or another for either a short time period or a long one? What if they need help with food or medical expenses or utility bills etc…? Why shouldn’t they use any help that is available?

And all you people whining about ‘the poor breeders’ using tax payer funded programs; I hope you aren’t using any yourselves. I’m sure your kids aren’t in public schools, play in public parks and playgrounds, take federal grants or loans for college, go to State universities, drive on public roads (you really think the gas tax covers the highway expenses) or any of a 100 other government programs out there. And if you are so against these programs in general, you should be happy then if more people use them. The sooner they are bankrupted the sooner people will wise up and vote to get rid of them.

And what’s up with all the bashing of people who are in Grad School? People were commenting on how we didn’t need any more Theology or Philosophy majors we need doctors, and God help us, more lawyers! Lawyers?! Are you serious? You know why we need theology and philosophy majors? To teach future generations the correct teachings in situations like this. If someone wants to go to a private Catholic college and rack up student loan debt, that is their choice. Sure it would be nice if these private colleges weren’t so darn expensive. But they aren’t and it doesn’t mean going to them is the wrong thing to do or that they should stop having children if they are having trouble making ends meet for now.

How about we help them through the rough times and encourage them? I’m thinking a few more potential saints for the kingdom is worth a few food stamps or subsidized prescriptions. At least it’s a deal I’m willing to make. Would it kill people to be positive and helpful? It’s bad enough that the world gives us such grief about our family sizes; do we really need it from our church brethren (so called)?

So some of you think having to use WIC to get some milk, cheese, eggs and lousy cereal is a Grave enough reason to stop having children? (I’ve noticed a troubling trend over the years of ‘dumbing down’ what are grave reasons to not get preggo.) Well yes it could be, since grave reasons traditionally have referred to issues of health or poverty. But how are you people out there in cyber-space in any position to judge others based on just a few sentences of information on their situation. Just how poor do you have to be for the situation to be grave? The kids looking like Ethiopian famine victims or not being able to afford 2 weeks in Vail this year? See a Grave financial situation means different things to different people.

Even if they are in poverty it doesn’t mean they HAVE to use NFP. It’s still their choice. They are the ones that are responsible to God and know their situation best. And in case you haven’t noticed people aren’t exactly starving in the streets in this country or dying for lack of medical treatment. Maybe they would be justified in using NFP and maybe it’s possible they even should use it but how is this your decision at all?

And since some people seem to think that ‘us’ couples with large families look down on ‘them’ families (when did it become us vs. them?) with ‘only’ a few or no children, a few words on that might be appropriate. My wife and I have 11 children and we have relatives and friends who have a few and want more but have secondary-infertility problems or have none due to infertility problems. We (and no one else we know – and we know a Lot of large families) don’t look down on these people. We love them and pray for them and encourage them and include them in our families. We can never know all the circumstances of couples with ‘small’ families just like we can’t know all the circumstances of couples with ‘large’ families and not a lot of moolah. I’m sure there are couples with ‘small’ families who don’t follow the church’s teachings. But I have no idea which families do and which families don’t. And it’s none of my business.

On a personal note, there have been times early in our marriage when we used various programs to help us out. Overtime, with smart financial choices and better employment, our situation has improved dramatically. And while we aren’t well to do, we are making ends meet without much trouble. The way some of the people out there think, we should have stopped having kids for year’s # 2-10 of our marriage. That was when I quit a good banking job and we opened a Catholic Bookstore. I took a huge pay cut and we ate a whole lot of PB&J and Mac and Cheese during those years. Well if we had stopped having kids during that time-frame, then I wouldn’t have kids’ #’s 3-7. Any of you people want to come tell my middle kids that?

I must say that all this fuss over NFP has caught me by surprise. I thought people used it for grave/serious reasons or they didn’t, end of story. There are a lot of people debating this and that about it. I guess since we have never in our 19 years of marriage used it (no seriously we haven’t – hard to believe I know), we have evidently been out of the loop. All this seems like another reason for a good solid spiritual director.

One other thing. There is a whole lot of bandwidth being wasted on a teaching (NFP/Birth Control) that most ‘Catholics’ ignore anyway. Nothing like Catholics eating their own.

Ps – I know this rambles but I’m heading to the beach in the morning for a week. I’ll ponder this deeply while baking myself on the beach and watching my blessings from above play in the waves. Hopefully I will be a Responsible Parent and not fall asleep in my beach chair.

Now if y'all will excuse me, I need to go buy a burgandy sweater for the beach. I hear it can be cold in August.

Update***See here for a much better article then I could ever hope to write***

Life's a Beach

We are heading to the OBX (Kitty Hawk) in the morning for a week of sun. Don't hate me because I'm tan.

Those of you who know where I live, stay out of our liquor cabinet (that means you Mary Poppins and The Donk) and away from my running shoes - the pairs that I'm not bringing with me - couldn't fit all of them in the 15-passenger van. And Donk, stay away from my HED3 race wheels...I know you covet them.

I've got a post a day scheduled to show up while I'm on vacation, so the 3 or 4 of you people out there who actually read this schlock, stop by when you can. And try and behave :)

Today's Workouts

and yesterday's.

Yesterday - 21 mile running in the morning before work. Followed by a 12 minute ice-bath and a glass of chocolate milk.

Today - 11.6 mile run at lunch. Weather is fantastic out. Legs seem to be getting used to these back to back longish runs. I was actually able to walk down the stairs after my run today.

The New Running Shoes are Here, The New Running Shoes are Here



Stuff Catholics Like

Folk Music vs Choir Music -

(I know I'm going to get in trouble with this one, but I'm going on vacation for a week tomorrow so I don't really care about anything else right now.)

A good way to start up a conversation/debate/cat-fight is to bring up the topic of what's better; folk music or the more traditional choir music.

Our church has both. There is a folk group that plays at the Saturday evening vigil Mass. There is also another folk group that alternates the 10am Sunday Mass with the choir.

Some people like the Choir. Robed-singers with choir director and an organ accompanying the older standard hymns. Lyrically you get better songs with this group. The songs tend to be older, more reverent and better written while the folk songs are mainly from the 60's and 70's, have banal lyrics and can be almost sacrilegious (think Beethoven and Mozart vs. Haugen and Haas or the Ave Maria vs City of God).

A traditional choir can at times be painful to listen to also. Especially if the choir is small, the organist is bad or the song selection is poor.

Folk music was especially cool in the 70's when you had pantsuit wearing 'nuns' shaking their booty along to the music...heaven help us.

You don't see that these days (there is a God). But some of the churches still have things like bongo's, hand-clapping congregations, electric guitars and basses and other abominations.

Personally I prefer our 8am Mass that has no music or a nice Gregorian Chant Latin Mass, but we almost always go to the 10am Mass. So my choice at that would be the choir. Mainly because it sounds like 'church' music and because the lyrics aren't trite.

I'm not a folk music hater, I own over 30 Bob Dylan albums, I just don't like it during church.

PS - all you folkies out there...I still love you.

Thursday, August 7, 2008


According to the Feds that's what it is going to cost me to raise my 11 children to the age of 18.

Raising kids today costs a fortune. Last month, the Department of Agriculture estimated that each American child costs an average of $204,060 to house, clothe, educate and entertain until the age of 18.

Who knew I was so darn rich! Man if I had know that we would have been living the high-life all a long. Fancy vacations, expensive jewelry, dinners out at nice restaurants and running shoes...fur-lined running shoes of course.

Just exactly what are these people spending $204,060 on? Therapy for their kids because both parents are working 60 hours a week? Ritalin? No they must have prescription drug cards. Those yuppie pre-schools for toddlers? Designer summer camps to entertain them? Gold-plated diapers? Soy Milk and organic tofu?

Lets do some more math. $204,060 works out to $11,336 per year over 18 years. Times 11 kids in my abode = $124,696 per year it should be costing me to raise the little darlings. Well that's the problem, I don't make near that much a year.

Even if we bought brand-new baby stuff with each kid (crib, clothes, stroller, car-seat etc...), I don't think I could spend that much,

I swear I think the feds just make up these numbers to frighten people away from having more kids. But that doesn't make sense. They should be encouraging people to breed. More babies = more future taxpayers and voters. Maybe they just need the publicity these types of numbers generate in the press. Got to keep justifying their existence and feed the machine.

And by the way, I was an econ major (granted a lousy one) so don't go preaching on the 'economies of scale' that I get by having so many kids.

I guess to save a few bucks I could kick them out of the house at 16. Does the French Foreign Legion still exist?

What's worse, the desire to have another child opens one up to charges of elitism and status consciousness. In many major U.S. cities and their suburbs -- especially New York, where I live -- having three or more children has now come to seem like an ostentatious display of good fortune, akin to owning a pied-à-terre in Paris. The family of five has become "deluxe."

If having 3 kids makes one elitist and a showoff, just how pretentious does that make us? Worse than Al Gore? I would imagine.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Today's Workouts

4.3 sweaty miles running at lunch time.

Meetings, Meetings and more Meetings

In the past 2 days I've had 3 meetings totaling 4 hours. That's 4 work hours lost out of 16 possible. And I'll have at least 2 more meetings this week.

On Monday I had a One Hour meeting to plan what would be talked about on a One Hour meeting on Tuesday.

Tuesday I had a meeting from 1-3pm and one from 3-4pm. The first meeting ran over until 3:25. So for 25 minutes I had my cell phone to one ear and my land-line phone to the other ear. Having a wife and 11 kids, I'm well trained to carry on more than one conversation at a time. I wonder if I can get time and a half for those 25 minutes.

The only positive thing about the Tuesday meetings is that I work from home that day and I can sit around in my gym shorts on my living room floor with the phone on mute. I stretched, ate lunch, stuck my tongue out at the phone, surfed the web on my laptop and once in awhile chipped in a few words of wisdom for the meeting.

And I have at least 2 more meetings this week. Someone just shoot me. It's the same every week.

All of my meetings are tele-conferences. This software project I'm working on includes people from at least 10 states. Which is part of the problem. With everyone scattered around the country we do need to have a meeting every now and again. But we don't need 5 each week.

People just love to hear themselves talk (or blog ;)). These meetings seem to cover the same topics over and over (kinda like this blog) without ever deciding on anything. The main problem is a weak manager(s) on this project. But in a way it's a good thing. This project was scheduled to release the software on October 31st and then there would be 3 months of wrap up. After December 31st my bosses would then have had to find me another project to work on. Which shouldn't be a problem but you never know. Now it's looking like this project will run at least 3 months but probably more like 6 months over. So all these meetings and not getting stuff settled and worked on is actually great for my job security.

Without divulging what I'm working on and getting myself in trouble, let's just say that I work for a small software company that provides support and contractors to a large Federal agency. So there is a lot of political nonsense in trying to get decisions made and work actually done.

I guess it could be worse; Brett Favre and the Green Bay Packers brass had a 5 hour meeting last night about his future with the team. 5 hours!? Why so long? Did they send out for pizza and watch the extended version of Lord of the Rings? Or was Brett just changing his mind about retiring every 5 minutes or so? Fish or cut bait dude.

Can someone wake me up when this Brett Favre/Packers saga is over? He's slipping into the same class of story as Lindsay, Paris and Britney. A Google news search returns 7,859 articles written about this. Britney 3,060, Lindsay 1,268 and Paris 3,050.

And Cheese-Heads, don't get all worked up over this. Go have a beer and a brat and play in the snow. You do still have snow on the ground, right?

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Today's Workouts

10 miles running at the local HS track consisting of a 2 mile warm up, 3 miles at a hard pace, 1/2 mile recovery jog, 3 more miles at a hard pace, 1.5 mile cool down.

It's Raining Food

A follow up to yesterdays post. I mentioned how family and friends are always helping out. Yesterday Sam got a call from one of the local churches that also has a school attached to it. They had some extra food they needed to get rid of before school started up. Probably some Commie state regulation that only allows new food to be served,

Anyway we are now the proud owners of the following:

1 full box of fund-raising chocolate bars (50 count)

1 large pail of chocolate ice cream

Around 200 popsicles, ice cream sandwiches and chocolate éclairs

A large pack of ground beef

2 bottles of chocolate syrup

1 bottle of catsup

I jar of horseradish sauce

1 large bottle of pancake syrup

3 packs of hamburger rolls

1 jar of mayo

1 jar of relish

2 bottle of whipped cream

2 packs of tortillas

2 buckets of KFC chicken (leftover from a youth group party last week - not from last school year)

It all should make for an interesting dinner tomorrow night.

Monday, August 4, 2008

Today's Workouts

5 mile easy paced run with Sir Donk

Large Families Redux

An open letter to oglers and skeptics (and those who are just curious) of large families.

The pressures, expectations, and life in general of large families.


My kids have extra pressure on them to behave in public. Most of it brought on by their mother and I. We stress to them (and stress them I sure) the importance of being well behaved when we go out. It's not really fair to them - actually it's kinda sad in a way. But people are just waiting for them to act-up, like in those unrealistic Cheaper by the Dozen and Yours, Mine and Ours movies where the kids run wild (the remakes not the originals). So to be a good witness to the joys of large families we stress-out our kids so they mind their manners in public, hardly seems right.

But if they don't behave in public you can just read the looks on people's faces (usually their are yuppies with 0.0 kids and a few designer dogs). "See what happens when people breed like rats" or "I bet they get hardly any attention at home".

So as we are driving in the stereo-typical 15-passenger van, the vehicle of choice for large families, we give them The Talk - no not that talk. The jist of which is, act-up and I'll tear your face off.

Fortunately our kids are pretty well-mannered when we go out. We even get people stopping and commenting how nice it is too see a large family with well behaved children. These are always older people who make these comments. The younger childless couples probably just think we are freaks...that's OK at least we'll have someone to take care of us when we are old. Let's see their dogs do that.

And if they act like they don't want to talk to you in public, it's not because they are being rude, it's cause you are embarrassing them with all your questions. They aren't a carnival sideshow. The younger ones will probably talk to you but the teens...forget it. They want nothing to do with the 100's of questions that come their way. Heaven help my kids if people find out they are homeschooled too. They leads to whole set of new and rude questions.


No we don't beat our kids or make them kneel for hours with their hand stretched out holding bricks - although some of them sure could use it at times.

We use the same old techniques as other families; timeouts (kinda lame), counting to 3 (super lame), taking away of privileges like desert or going places (works ok), being sent to their rooms (some of them like that too much), or giving them extra chores (a favorite around here which if it doesn't change their attitudes - at least it gets our house cleaner). And yes on occasion we...gasp...spank them. I'm sure they will grow-up to be societal misfits who need years or therapy to overcome their dramatic childhoods :-P


"Wow you guys must be rich to have all those kids". "You must have a fantastic job, how much money do you make"? Why do people think those questions are acceptable? They probably wouldn't ask them of someone with 2 kids. When did it become ok to butt your nose in other people's finances?

And for the record I have a good but regular paying job. Nothing special but it works great for us.

We are blessed with lots of great family and friends who live nearby and help us out. Grandparents, Aunts Uncles etc...who are always dropping in to lend a hand or take a kid or five to do something special. But for some reason I'm thinking other families do this too.

Oh and we are rich, we have everything but money.


No we don't own a cow or live on a farm. We live in a regular old suburb like most of the people in this country and we buy our food at grocery stores and wholesale clubs like everyone else. We just buy more of it - but not as much as you would think. Sure the teens can eat a lot but the little kids aren't exactly gluttons.

We don't cook outrageous amounts of food. Our breakfast's' aren't 3 dozen eggs, 5 pounds of bacon, a loaf of bread and a gallon of milk. A normal breakfast would be something like a dozen and a half eggs, 2 pounds of bacon and half a loaf of bread and some milk or juice. Or maybe just a box of cereal. Yeah one box of cereal can feed the whole family.

The hardest part isn't the shopping (you just throw extra food in the cart) or cooking (doubling or tripling recipes is pretty easy. No the hardest part is serving it up. You've got 11 kids asking for their food different ways plus you have to cut up any meat for the little kids (and the 18 year-old)

There aren't food fights at the dinner table, unless dad is the one to start it.


No we don't live in a McMansion and now we don't live in a double-wide trailer in a trailer park or in a shoe. It's even worse, we live in the suburbs. We bought our current house 8 years ago just after our 7th child was born. The house was a 5 BR 3 BR foreclosure that seemed like a good deal at the time. We spent many months fixing it up while living in it at the same time. Fortunately we had many relatives and friends (now former friends) helping us out. A year after we moved in, with #8 child on the way, we added on 2 more bedrooms. We didn't add a bathroom since we have 6 boys and plenty of trees outback.


No we don't make our own clothes; this isn't Little House on the Prairie. Sure a lot of their clothes are hand-me-downs, from thrift-stores, or presents from relatives. Just like a lot of other families, big surprise there. And the close we buy are more than likely to be from places like Kohl's and Target instead of Nordstrom’s or Niemen Marcus. Somehow they all survive.

Don't feel sorry for my kids if their clothes look a little (ok a lot) dirty or worn out. It's not because we are poor and can't provide for them. It's cause they are kids! And kids get dirty and wear out clothes.

As the kids enter their teen years and start earning their own money, they buy their own clothes.

Pregnant again-

Announcing another pregnancy when you have a large family can be stressful occasion. You are sometimes met with confused or pitying looks. I expect it from people we don't know too well or people we meet out in public. It's when it's from fellow "Catholics" that it can be painful.

Fortunately our family and close friends are great about - or at least their are used to it by now - so they take it well.

...and no we aren't far as I know...

Feeling sorry for us-

We don't want your sympathy or pity. We love our lives the way they are - most of the time - sure we have our tough movements like all families but we get through them. We don't want anyone feeling sorry for us and our choices we've made. We aren't worried about them so why should you be.

And just as importantly we don't really want your admiration or respect either. I'm not saying this to be mean, it's just that we don't think what we are doing is any big deal or makes us special. Having people come up to us all the time telling us how much they admire our family or how inspirational we are just makes us uncomfortable. We aren't special or some super family - you should see us in our private moments, we are more than human. We just want to be treated like a regular, albeit larger sized family. Don't get me wrong, we don't mind people complimenting us or asking for advice on parenting or homeschooling, it's when it is taken to the excess that it starts to get kinds creepy and stalker-ish.

We are not even close to being saints (well Sam is for putting up with me but that is a whole other post) although that is what we strive for (some days). We aren't extra patient. We lose our tempers just as easily as anyone else. We don't have any special parenting wisdom although we are happy to share what little we have.

We are just like every other Catholic parent out there. We are trying to raise our kids the best we know how and help them to get to heaven. We have learned a lot from older couples who have gone down this long and winding road before us. But a lot we are learning and trying to figure out as we go. Sometimes we get it right and sometimes we screw-up (big time). We try and learn from our mistakes and get it right next time. Hopefully the first few guinea pigs, I mean kids, aren’t too angry with us for not knowing what we were doing. So far they are good kids.

Stop back 50 years from now and I'll let you know how it's turned out.

See Sam's post today on the same topic

Sunday, August 3, 2008

Today's Workouts

4 mile with Joey, Robert and Dominic following along on their bikes.

62.5 miles running for the week, which is a new high for me.

Silly Sunday

Fudgie the Whale Cake

Wouldn't you like to be a Pepper too?

Where's the Beef?

Saturday, August 2, 2008

What to do? What to do?

#1 child has #'s 10 and 11 at the pool.

#2 child is in NH.

#3 child went to the pool with friends.

#'s 4 and 5 are shopping with grandma.

#6 child went to a friends house to ride bikes and play Lego's.

#'s 7, 8 and 9 are at their aunt's house for the afternoon.

Let's see - that's 1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9,10 and 11 - all accounted for.

What to do? It's just me and the Honey here. What to do?

Well for one thing, I need to get off this computer....Oh Honey....

Today's Workouts

4 mile easy run while pushing the baby in the jogging stroller.

A Picture is Worth $14 Million

$14 million for baby pictures!!! That’s supposedly what Brangelina have pimped pictures of their Twins for. No babies are that cute.

Yeah I know the money goes to charity…I’m still not feeling all warm and fuzzy about this. Why do I get the feeling these twins are gonna end up worse off than the Olsen Twins...doing the Springer, Montel, Riki Lake pictures on MySpace...

Here are some recent pictures of our baby. Free of charge. Although you can send me some money if you want.

Friday, August 1, 2008

Today's Workouts

Lunch time run of 11 miles. 90 degrees and humid. Legs were pretty sore and tight from yesterday's 23 miles. I probably looked like a geezer running for the first 4 miles or so. After that my legs loosened up and the rest of the run was pretty good.

Stuff Catholics Like

"The Rosary", says the Roman Breviary, "is a certain form of prayer wherein we say fifteen decades or tens of Hail Marys with an Our Father between each ten, while at each of these fifteen decades we recall successively in pious meditation one of the mysteries of our Redemption."

Catholics love their beads. Large ones, small ones, stone or plastic or wood, most Catholics have lots of rosaries in their house. Lying near the family bible, around the neck of a Mary statue, hanging from a bed-post, dangling from the rear-view mirror in their cars. The may never use them or even remember how but they are there. The might have been a hand-me down from a dead grandmother or a 1st communion present or maybe they bought themselves a new pair when they started having kids and wanted to teach them.

The blue-hairs in particular are fond of them. You can see them before, during and after Mass fingering their beads. Praying for deceased husbands, wayward children, the grand-kids, their arthritis, to be regular again and a myriad of other intentions. Hopefully some of them are praying for me also.

Kids of course love rosaries, the large wooden painted ones and the plastic glow in the dark ones in particular. They wear them around their necks, whip their little sisters with them, play tug-of-war with them until they break and the beads go flying all over the place. This happened to my good pair at Christmas morning Mass around 10 years ago.

We were at 8 o'clock Mass in the 250 year-old chapel that is used for special occasions. This is a popular and crowded Christmas Mass. We always go to this Mass and we always sit up in the choir loft. One of the little ones was acting up so I gave her my rosary to hold. And of course another one of the little guys decided he wanted it too. So a tug-of-war ensued and my black onyx and sterling silver rosary was the loser. Beads went fling everywhere, including a few that fell down to the pews below. The worst part is it was during the middle of Mass and I couldn't yell at or whack them...ok maybe that was a good least from the offenders point of view.